Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition Mel Gibson

Braveheart: Special Collector's Edition Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson’s first foray into historical gore filmmaking is given new life with this special double-disc package. The story of William Wallace, a Scottish folk hero who led his people in rebellion against English rule in the 13th century, has become known around the world thanks to the popularity of this film. Gibson’s second directorial effort, Braveheart is a telling starting point for what has become his modus operandi: pick a significant historical event and breathtaking landscapes, knit together a loose story, then hack apart the characters in gloriously gory detail. Never a stickler for facts, Gibson’s work connects on a base emotional level, rarely exploring deeper or questionable moral motivations. Writer Randall Wallace readily admits that historical accuracy wasn’t a factor in his storytelling objectives while discussing the script’s origins in the "Writer’s Journey” feature. Wallace is quite forthcoming with his motivations and intentions for writing the story — a lack of a sense for his ethnic history and a desire to affirm his personal life philosophy chiefly among them. The requisite "making of” feature, "Alba Gu Brath,” is lengthy and informative, brimming with detail and funny anecdotes, including some great advice Mel sought from Clint Eastwood about the transition from actor to director. If you were curious about the jarring editing techniques used in the battle scenes, your questions will be answered with an in-depth look at the editing process. Gibson was inspired by a frame dropping technique he picked up from Orson Welles that’s intended to increase the feeling of the blows in battle but as often happens, Mel’s almost childlike enthusiasm pushes what could’ve been a clever device into awkward overuse. "Tales of William Wallace” gives an overview of the epic poem historical knowledge of Wallace is based on. A series of archival cast interviews is littered with film clips and lack insight or original information, but it’s always a pleasure to listen to zany Irishman David O’Hara. Gibson’s commentary track is oddly lacklustre, with frequent gaps of silence between snippets of information, but one gets the impression he’s still burned out from the project as a whole. One has to wonder though: what happened to the many deleted scenes mentioned reverently, including the fully detailed execution scene he relented on using here but more than made up for in later films after this Oscar-winner gave him the clout to fully indulge his grotesque visions? (Paramount)